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drawing on my lifetime of experience starting, operating and growing operations.
When eBay exploded on the Internet, it revolutionized all sorts of markets. Buyers and sellers suddenly had another place to meet and do business.
On the eBay.com site, you can find thousands of items in many categories--electronics, clothing, collectibles and antiques, home and garden, and much, much more. Just click on your interest and begin.
Example: For many years I collected early American glass made between 1800 and 1900. The day came when it got out of hand--I was running out of room. About the same time, I found eBay. I would take a picture of, say, a Diamond Thumbprint decanter made in the 1850s, post the picture to the eBay site, and watch as people bid on the item--or purchased it outright. I have bought and sold historic American glass pieces on eBay, and the experience has been a good one. The eBay phenomenon greatly expanded the market geographically--far beyond the circles of collectors I had developed over the years. Suddenly, I could reach people all over the country and beyond. I discovered that collectors in different parts of the country had different interests and would pay different prices for historic glass items. Over time, there was an evening out of market interest and prices--the eBay phenomenon was working its magic in the marketplace.
Not everything posted on eBay sells. But, overwhelmingly, the company has been very successful in bringing together buyers and sellers.
Like everything else, you must jump into the water if you want to swim. You might find it will work for you--or it might not. Then, you might find someone to handle all the eBay details for you.
Example: Fran opened a consignment shop and invited others to bring items to her store. She offers the items for sale at the shop, and she places them on eBay as well. Hers is a sort of eBay store, where her customers are primarily sellers, not buyers. She handles putting the items up on the eBay site, relieving her customers of this. Since Fran is very active on eBay as a seller, she has become expert in what will sell and what will not. She is also up-to-date on pricing. In an ever changing marketplace, prices can fluctuate--up or down. An item that was hotly bid up to hundreds of dollars last year might languish on the shelves this year with no interest at all--locally or on eBay. Fran has found the antiques market to be a good example of this. High end and rare antiques usually command high prices, but second tier antiques not so much. A small, hand-carved salon table that sold for $500 some twenty years ago, today struggles to fetch half that amount. Collectibles, on the other hand, might soar in interest and price--an early computer game can draw lots of interest, and bidding can be fierce. Fran offers free appraisals at her bricks-and-mortar operation, and this brings in lots of inventory.
Businesses other than consignment shops can take advantage of the huge market that eBay provides. Artists and artisans can be found on eBay, as can gift shops, furniture designers, clothing and electronics stores, and, of course, antiques and collectibles in addition to others.
You have many opportunities and possibilities in small business. And you never know what works until you try. Find your niche, and never look back.